I have a “friend” on Facebook that has recently taken up a new hobby which I suspect is to help her fill the void of not having any more kids at home seems as how her last one left for college last September. She was always a busy mom with kids in sports and so I’m sure it was a huge adjustment for her when all of a sudden those activities that took so much of her time just disappeared.
So the new hobby she started is cooking and then taking pictures of her makings and commenting on each dish. I have to tell you her pictures are beautifully done and quite impressive. Looking at the pictures being posted I have to admit she has made me hungry more than once. At first glance I was thinking, “Oh, how nice, she’s picked up a new hobby. Her work already looks so professional.”
I have been tempted a couple of times though to ask her just who is eating all of this food because I know she is a petite woman and avid runner and the food definitely does not look like lo-cal food. When I started paying more attention to her posts I noticed that she was getting a lot of her ideas for the dishes from cooking shows on tv.
Now I have watched those shows too and while the recipes always look delicious, I know if I ate that way all the time I would get into some serious trouble. So it got me to thinking of how many people watch these programs and do they have any effect on peoples health and or weight gain.
And what do people today do when they want to find out something quick? Yep! They google it!
After typing in “Watching cooking shows and weight gain,” a whopping 5,510,000 results popped up. Now, I didn’t go through all of the sites and I’m sure the message would have started straying off topic somewhat at some point but after perusing through quite a few of them I came to the conclusion that there was something to be said about the correlation between watching the shows and weight gain.
Lizzy Pope, a researcher in nutrition and food science at the University of Vermont and the
lead author of a study done on this topic came up with some interesting findings. The study consisted of a national panel survey of 501 females between the ages of 20-35 that assessed how the participants obtained information on new recipes and asked a series of questions about their cooking habits, their height and their weight.
With all the information they gathered, they then calculated the participants’ BMI (body mass index) and applied statistical analysis to determine if and what associations there was regarding how obtaining information about new foods, cooking from scratch, and the effect it may have on their BMI.
According to the study’s results, they found that the women who watched cooking shows and cooked frequently from scratch had a mean weight of 164 pounds. By comparison, women who watched the shows but didn’t cook much from scratch weighed, on average, about 153 pounds. They also noted that the same women who watch and then cooked the recipes had a higher BMI than the women who just watched but did not cook.
Another interesting finding was that when the women obtained their recipes and cooking advice from other sources such as magazines, online, or family and friends, the data did not show a significant association with BMI.
So what do we make of all this information? It seems we are always hearing about how eating out at restaurants all of the time is bad for your health so one would think that cooking at home is healthier right? But just because you are cooking at home does not automatically mean that you are cooking healthy dishes or that you will lose weight.
If your inspiration for cooking is mainly coming from TV where celebrity chefs entertain the audience with calorie laden, drenched in cream pasta and decadent desserts then you might as well eat out at a restaurant. Let’s face it, butter is butter whether it comes from your kitchen or on your plate at a restaurant.
It is important to keep in mind that for the most part these shows are for entertainment purposes only. And while there is nothing wrong with “watching” them occasionally to relax and maybe even getting a few ideas to try, you want to be mindful of how and what you cook and realize that the shows are not necessarily going to portray healthy recipes.
So once again it really boils down to one fact, and that is, we have to choose to eat smart. It always does doesn’t it? But in the society we live in and the availability of so many options coupled with the media be it tv food shows or social media with beautifully displayed pictures or videos popping up on our newsfeed constantly is it any wonder how easy it is to get “off track?”
So my fellow Americans I believe the take-home message for today is go ahead, watch a show or two for entertainment but when you go into your kitchen to cook for you and your family be sensible and pick from recipes that emphasize health and nutrition. And let the celebrity chefs give their dishes to feed the cameramen and the staff that produce the shows.
If I can be of any assistance to you whether it be providing education, strategies, or just support to encourage you to get back on and stay on the right track of healthy eating please feel free to contact me at (616) 516-1570. Bon-appétit!